…”My only assignment now is preparation for paradise” – Celebrant
By CSN media
In a goodwill message to the Emeritus Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan on his 80th birthday celebration, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), celebrated and congratulated the Prince of the Church and lauded his exceptional sense of simplicity, humility, diligence and his accommodating personality.
“We congratulate you, and celebrate with you. You are so accommodating, extraordinarily simple and humble. We are wishing you many more years in good health of mind and more. We pray that you remain with us for a longer time.
You are retired but not tired because of what you keep on giving to the church and your show of diligence to pastoral duties.”
The Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Rev. Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin delivered the goodwill message on behalf of the conference at the Thanksgiving Mass for the 80th birthday anniversary of the Cardinal at the Cathedral Church of the 12 Apostles in Abuja on Saturday, February 3, 2024.
In his homily at the Mass, Msgr. John Aniagwu disclosed that the celebrant has held every position in the church with grace and distinction, which makes his creation as a Cardinal in the year 2012 a well deserved elevation.
Describing the motto of the Cardinal “Fiat Voluntas Tua” (Thy will be done), as what has defined his character from cradle, the homilist stated that the celebrant has allowed God’s will to be done in his life all through his priestly life. He further called on Nigerians to emulate the words of the motto by learning to accept the will of God in all things, rather than try to subvert it.
“His motto is ‘Fiat voluntas tua,’ (Thy will be done), is what has defined his life from cradle. He has allowed God’s will to be done in his life all through his priestly life. I will like to recommend that motto to all and indeed the entire Nigeria. We should learn to accept the will of God in all things and not subvert it. I believe that the day we allow the will of God to guide our actions in this country, things will begin to change for better, else we will continue to grow in the dark.”
The Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, on behalf of the entire Catholic faithful of Abuja, thanked the Emeritus Archbishop for providing the needed pastoral leadership to the Archdiocese for good 27years with apostolic courage. He lauded his ecumenical wisdom and his ability to manage many things at the same time.
In his response, the celebrant, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, thanked God for his graciousness upon his life as he attains the age of 80. He disclosed that as he looks forward to the future, his only assignment on earth now, is preparation for paradise, and prayed for God’s mercy upon his sins and shortcomings.
“This is a day of thanksgiving and supplication. I thank God for blessings received and pray for mercy upon my sins and shortcomings. As I look forward to the future which will not be too long, my only assignment now is preparation for paradise. I look forward to it every day, but in all things, let the will of God be done.”
The Cardinal also disclosed that the high point of his 80th birthday celebration was his audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and the special birthday thanksgiving Mass at the tomb of St. Peter in Rome. He specially thanked Msgr. Aniagwu, the homilist for being a friend for 60 years.